Search

‘Children should not be treated as numbers’ - charging schools for expelling pupils not way to tackle Norfolk’s soaring expulsion rates, says principal of City Academy, Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:27 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 19:44 23 May 2017

City Academy Principle Mary Sparrow. Photo : Steve Adams

City Academy Principle Mary Sparrow. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Charging schools which expel students could worsen an alarming rise in expulsion rates in Norfolk and have a damaging impact on children’s welfare, a principal has warned.

Michael Bateman, head of SEN at Norfolk County Council Michael Bateman, head of SEN at Norfolk County Council

Mary Sparrow, from City Academy, Norwich said under pressure school leaders could be less inclined to invest money in measures to prevent students being expelled if they felt they could then face thousands of pounds in charges.

Speaking at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s Schools Forum on Friday, she said “children should not be treated as numbers”.

Forum members were discussing the county council’s proposal to charge schools for permanently excluding pupils, an idea which the council hopes could tackle the county’s soaring expulsion rates and address a projected £8.5m overspend in special needs education.

The number of permanent exclusions around Norfolk leapt from 170 in 2013/14 to 195 in 2014/15 and 296 in 2015/16 with 137 children excluded in the autumn term alone this year.

Norfolk permanent exclusion numbers. Graphic: ARCHANT. Norfolk permanent exclusion numbers. Graphic: ARCHANT.

MORE: Almost 100 children waiting for an education as school expulsions in Norfolk soar

It has meant that some 100 children in Norfolk are currently missing out on any education and is considered to be, in part, responsible for the deficit.

It is felt the charges would act as a deterrent and raise some of the money needed.

Mrs Sparrow said: “If we fine schools for expelling students it could perversely mean there is less they are able to do before it gets to this stage.

“Before permanently excluding a child we will invest between £7,500 to £15,000 in measures to prevent exclusion.

“We are already making some very tough decisions and if there is the threat of this being topped up to £20,000 head teachers may stop putting that money in at the start.

MORE: What is driving the rapid rise in Norfolk school exclusions?

“If a school clearly hasn’t done enough to prevent the expulsion, then fining them is fair enough.

“It is not black and white - there are many grey areas. Children should not be treated as numbers.”

Michael Bateman, head of Norfolk County Council’s Education Inclusion Service, said: “If there are cases where it is clear that schools are doing all they can but have no other choice, we can use discretion.”

Money raised from charges would be reinvested into reintegrating pupils.

Schools will be consulted on the proposals this summer.

1 comment

  • Don't find the schools for having to "exclude" brats, fine or surcharge the parent(s) in order to recover some of the exceptional costs their "little darlings" have caused. Parents are being fined for taking their kids following unauthorised absences so there is precedence for such charges to be raised.

    Report this comment

    koenig

    Saturday, May 20, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News

11:28

One Norfolk headteacher has shared their moving account of how the funding crisis is hitting their school.

Yesterday, 18:58

Interesting stories behind a variety of buildings and landmarks across Norfolk will be revealed at the popular Heritage Open Days festival this autumn.

Yesterday, 15:22

A fire chief is urging businesses to train workers in fire safety after quick-thinking staff prevented a major blaze in a seaside amusement arcade.

Yesterday, 15:18

A campaign group, which gives a voice to women who have lost out because of changes in pension law, met their MEP as part in a national day of action.

Most Read

Yesterday, 15:22

A fire chief is urging businesses to train workers in fire safety after quick-thinking staff prevented a major blaze in a seaside amusement arcade.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:53

Firefighters are tackling a blaze at an amusement arcade in Hemsby this afternoon.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:29

Five people have been rushed to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea at a north Norfolk beauty spot where a man drowned last summer.

Read more
Norwich
Yesterday, 08:08

A woman has suffered severe head and pelvic injuries after falling from the seawall at California Gap, near Great Yarmouth.

Read more
James Paget Hospital
11:28

One Norfolk headteacher has shared their moving account of how the funding crisis is hitting their school.

Read more

Most Commented

Yesterday, 15:22

A fire chief is urging businesses to train workers in fire safety after quick-thinking staff prevented a major blaze in a seaside amusement arcade.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter